Owing to the most basic human desire, communication, social media are gaining more and more on popularity, both among the general population who simply enjoy the facilitated interaction, and business professionals who see it as a successful marketing and recruiting tool. Social media come in many forms, from photo-sharing platforms to social gaming or chat apps, but especially social networks. In fact, as of January 2017, approximately 37 percent of the world’s population had an account on at least one of the social networks available. Later that year, Facebook managed to assert its leadership position on the social networks market, with over 1.96 billion registered accounts worldwide, followed by the instant messaging services WhatsApp, and YouTube.
The global region with the highest penetration rate of social networks is North America, where around 66 percent of the population has at least one social account. In Canada, more than 20 million people are expected to have a social network account by 2018. Here, as in the rest of the world, Facebook is the most popular social network based on penetration, with three quarters of the population having an active account on this platform. Other popular social networks among Canadians are the professional platform LinkedIn, which had the highest penetration rate among inhabitants of British Columbia and Alberta, as well as Twitter, which is expected to grow its user base from over 3.3 million in 2012 to some 7.6 million users in 2020. Based on mobile share of visits, however, Twitter ranks third among Canadians, with Pinterest taking the second spot, and Facebook remaining the unquestionable leader of social networks visited via mobile.
Despite the fact that global internet users spend an average of around 118 minutes per day surfing social networks, Canadian users are a little more disciplined, yet they do not stay far behind. As of the last quarter of 2016, it was measured that internet users in Canada spent 107 minutes per day accessing social networks via any device. Therefore, social networks are considered more and more a powerful marketing tool, which has prompted an increase in marketing spending in order to use that space and screen time to promote products and services. In 2015, over 90 percent of Canadian marketers indicated their brand's presence on Facebook, with a further 78 percent claiming Twitter presence. In 2017, social media ad revenue in Canada is expected to reach over 560 million U.S. dollars, with the largest share of these revenues being generated through mobile ads.
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